The Association of Southeast Asian Nations this week launched a region-wide campaign to fight gender-based violence and elevate the role of women in government.
The 10-nation effort — backed by USAID and UN Women, the United Nations initiative promoting gender equality — took flight this week in Phnom Penh.
“Peace and security are the foundations of all development in society,” said Cambodia’s Minister of Women’s Affairs Ing Kantha Phavi. “Women and men suffer differently in war — both need to contribute their different visions during peacetime.”
ASEAN has faced growing transnational problems in recent years, including weather-related disasters and the rise of regional crime syndicates. The impact of those issues often fall disproportionately on women.
“The regional plan of action is very important because it marks the recognition by ASEAN member states of the importance of women, peace and security,” said Sarah Knibbs, officer in charge of UN Women for Asia and the Pacific. “Many issues we consider to be the new and emerging security threats, like climate change, human trafficking, pandemics and disaster preparedness, are really cross-border issues.”
Around 45,000 women were murdered by a partner or family member last year, according to the website Statista. Asia was the worst offender, with nearly 18,000 deaths.